Neglect is the most common form of child mistreatment in Bungoma County according to statistics provided by the County Coordinator for Children Services (CCCS), Nabakwe Maube Mathew.
The Area Advisory Council meeting chaired by the Assistant County Commissioner,D.R. Osundwa revealed that the department handled 3,376 cases of neglect during the 2016-2017 Financial Year compared to only one case of sodomy, one involving incest and three for refugee children.
Maube said out of the 36 different case categories handled during the year, neglected children were top on the list
He said 694 of the neglected children were male while 648 were females aged between 0- 5 years, 772 were aged between 6-10 years, 712, between 11-15 years, 343 between 16-18years while 97 were 18 years and above.
He said the psychological effects of neglect were devastating and affected children needed support and intervention like victims of physical and sexual abuse.
A Member, Francis Masicha said neglected children have higher rates of mental illness, increased rates of drug or alcohol abuse and difficulty forming relationships. Neglect he said can also hinder brain development resulting in learning disabilities.
Nabakwe said cases of child neglect and abandonment had contributed to the increase of street children in the county’s major towns.
He said street children were vulnerable to all forms of exploitation and abuse and their daily lives are likely to be far removed from the childhood envisioned in the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
He added that in most of the cases handled, those who are entrusted to protect the children become the perpetrators of crimes against them.
Osundwa said plans are underway to do an inventory of all street children in the county using chiefs and nyumba kumi officials to establish their number, age and origins.
He said 70 percent of street children have parents some of whom remove their children from school, dress them shabbily and send them to the streets to beg for money for upkeep.
He warned that parents found culpable after the census will face the law and called for a lasting solution to return and retain the children in school to avoid losing young brains who could be useful in future.
Osundwa said charitable children’s institutions with no proper registration status would be closed as they were often used as conduits for child trafficking.
Source: Kenya News Agency